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Assessing the economic benefits of improved irrigation management: a case study of Bangladesh

This paper explains the economic benefits that the country can achieve if improved irrigation management is followed in Bangladesh. The present study has been carried out using data from different studies by different organizations on the existing status of irrigation management practices in Bangladesh. As a result, defects were detected in the system, which are possible to eliminate through taking up various effective measures. A quantitative assessment has been done based on savings to be acquired as a result of eliminations of the defects. An additional amount of US$140 million may be saved from improved irrigation and water management practices, US$543 million from elimination of the present system loss of water and US$155 million by providing supplementary irrigation in the Aman (summer) season. An amount of US$108 million may be saved by enhancing mechanical efficiency of the diesel driven irrigation equipment through proper operation and in time repair and maintenance, US$362 million through proper conservation of water in khal (local drainage channel), beel (small water bodies), haor (comparatively larger water bodies) and pond and US$38 million by controlling unplanned installation of irrigation equipment. The Government of Bangladesh is to spend only an amount of about US$1.74 million for successful implementation of proper irrigation and other management activities, when in total an amount of about US$1,344.26 million may be thus saved and added annually in the economy of Bangladesh. The amount thus saved is about one-fifth of the total Bangladesh Budget for the Fiscal Year of 2002/03 (US$7,570 million) and about one-sixth of the total Bangladesh Budget for the Fiscal Year of 2003/04 (US$8,962 million).